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North Wales Information Literacy Best Practice Sharing Day 2013

The Welsh Information Literacy Project team, in collaboration with the North Wales Libraries Training group, organised the first Information Literacy event of its kind in North Wales. You can view the programme for the day and attendee organisations below. 

Organisations Represented

Cyfluniant Organisation
Grŵp Llandrillo Menai  
PLLGC North Wales Library Partnership
Ysgol David Hughes  
Ysgol John Bright  
Ysgol Aberconwy  
Ysgol Uwchradd Caergybi  
Llyfrgell Dinbych Denbigh Public Library
Llyfrgell Caernarfon Public Library  
Llyfrgell Pwllheli Public Library  
Llyfrgell a Chanolfan Dysgu Treffynnon Holywell Library and Learning Centre
Llyfrgell Llangollen Public Library  
Llyfyrgelloed Gwynedd Library Service  
Llyfyrgelloed Ynys Mon Isle of Anglesey Library Service
JISC RSC Northwest  
JISC RSC Cymru JISC RSC Wales
Society of Chief Librarians (Wales)  
Sefydliad Siartredig Llyfrgellwyr a Gweithwyr Gwybodaeth Cymru CILIP
Y Bont, Swyddfa Llywodraeth Cymru Y Bont, Welsh Government Centre
CBAC WJEC
Coleg Gwyr Abertawe Gower College Swansea
Coleg Glannau Dyfrdwy Deeside College
Coleg Iâl Wrecsam Yale CollegeWrexham
Prifysgol Bangor University  
Prifysgol Glyndŵr University  

Event Objective

This was to be more than a theory and advocacy day – the team was determined to facilitate a showcase for the innovative, cross sector information literacy activities currently being implemented in North Wales. The day successfully provided a platform for Schools, Public libraries, Further Education and Higher Education teams to present and elaborate on their projects, pilots and continuing learner support activities. Participants on the day reported that it was the first opportunity they had had to learn about Information Literacy activities outside their own sector and remarked how similar learner needs could be regardless of attainment level.

The term ‘Information Literacy’ and its use with or meaning to specific user groups was also discussed. The importance of developing Information Literacy skills as part of the wider Digital Inclusion and ‘Digital by Default’ agendas was also highlighted. The use of Information Literacy approaches as a vehicle for improved literacy, numeracy, digital confidence and independent study skill development were demonstrated as positive, achievable outcomes.  The event also enabled contributors and attendees to explore how each sector’s activities could be implemented within their own organisations. 

Main highlights: 

  •   Information Literacy ‘by stealth’, at ‘point of need’ and supporting skill development using topic based ‘hooks’ were the most successful approaches for learners involved in both formal and informal training activities
  •  The opportunity to explore the potential collaborative opportunities between Information Literacy activities currently taking place in North Wales both linked to, and independent of, the WILP
  • There was a general consensus that the term ‘Information Literacy’ and how this is relevant to their lives should be introduced to learners later in their learning journey
  •  Accredited units are a valuable motivation tool for younger learners
  • Greater acknowledgement of the value of Information Literacy skills to Work Based Learning and Employability needs to be more visible in Community based, School and Graduate education delivery
  •  Support to establish an all Wales joint FE and HE Information Literacy Champions Network/Community of Practice 

To find out more about each of the speakers topics see the briefing notes available to download at the end of this page. 


To Tweet or not to Tweet? No problem, even if you've never used Twitter before you can see all the messages here! We used the hashtag #ilnw2013 on the day. 

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Introduction

Hywel James, chair of the WILP Steering Group and a staunch supporter of the project since its inception, began the day by highlighting future technological advances and how they might affect our information seeking behaviour. He also raised the issue of ‘disintermediation’ and differing perceptions of the role Information professionals can play in bridging the gap between Information Literacy and Digital Literacy skills. No matter how advanced the technological platform we use to access information, everyone needs to know how to ask the right questions in the first place. The need for Information Literacy skill support is as relevant in the 21st Century as ever.

Andrew Eynon, WILP project manager, gave a brief update on the aims and objectives of the project and the successes of Phase III so far. Project Officers Pat, Gina and Síona each gave a synopsis of their activities within the Public Library, Schools, Agored qualifications, Community of Practice and Advocacy streams.  You can view or download the Team presentation.

Aled Wyn Jones of the Gwynedd Library Service, one of our network of Public Library Information Literacy Champions, discussed the pilot project delivery of accredited bi-lingual Information Literacy training for Public Library staff using the Agored Cymru units developed as part of WILP. Aled has been supported by Gina and Ceri from WILP in delivering training, awareness raising and resource development. Staff were initially sceptical of the benefits of this training or of their ability to successfully incorporate training into their busy work schedules. However, Aled reported that the IL awareness days, run in conjunction with the project team, resulted in enthusiastic debates on the subject of IL and the importance of developing professional skills. Shortly after engaging with the training programme, the majority of staff involved were very positive about their experience and were highly motivated to complete the qualification. Workbook topics based on real-life information enquiries and questions from local library users were used as the foundation of the training which proved to be a very useful tool to explore the staff IL skills and approaches. Topics included Local History, Dyslexia, Benefit entitlements and Trawsfynydd Power Station. Three more training sessions have been arranged in the Arfon, Meirionnydd and Dwyfor districts in Gwynedd to help participants complete the logbooks. Aled drew attention to the fact that some staff members had struggled with the log book pathway and maybe the format could be adapted in the future. It is also hoped additional time can be provided for lone workers to aid their CPD activities. The possibility of online support through a tool such as Lollipop was also discussed. The project team is also looking forward to hearing about the results of additional training for Gwynedd Council Staff being facilitated by TegidWillams, the Professional Trainee for Information Literacy within the County Council.

Image of information literacy leaflets

Bethan Hughes Jones, in her role as Life Long Learning Co-ordinator for Ynys Môn Libraries, discussed the free Information Literacy training provision available within the local library service. This training is also provided in collaboration with the Gwynedd and Anglesey Life Long Learning Partnership. Users who would not have followed traditional education routes are encouraged to take part in the informal programmes. If successful, and if appropriate for that learner, they are then introduced to a more formal qualifications pathway to aid progression and skill attainment. The courses include absolute beginners computer courses, local history research and Internet shopping support. Bethan noted that there are increasing numbers of enquiries from users relating to Universal Credit, accessing resources online and support for mobile devices including tablets. It is vital that Public Library staff must have confidence in their own Information Literacy skills to source answers and support users in accessing the details they need. At the end of the session, John Crawford of the Scottish Information Literacy Community of Practice, highlighted the importance of developing a standardised programme of training for Public Librarians across Wales. This would also help to avoid duplication of effort. Andrew Eynon mentioned the potential of using the new Hŵb developments to share resources and training materials. A potential partnership between the Ynys Môn schools and Gwynedd and Anglesey Life Long Learning Partnership, to support the Information Literacy and digital skills needs of parents, was also suggested. The development of possible links between the Media Literacy training provided by DeudraethCyfin Gwynedd (and Communities 2.0 in the rest of North Wales) was also suggested by the group.

Image of information literday day conference pack

After lunch Sioned Jones and Iolen Jones from Ysgol Uwchradd Caergybi presented the activities of the project pilot to embed Information Literacy and the Agored accredited units in schools. Pat has been supporting this pilot project through raising awareness about the WILP project, resource development and mentoring. Sioned explained that all learners take a compulsory reading test in Year 7. Based on this, students that need intense interventions with reading/spelling and those who were weak readers are identified and additional support arranged. However, those students identified who might need a less intense literacy push do not usually receive any additional support. It was these learners that Sioned and Iolen wished to support as part of the pilot. The initial pilot group of 25 students are supported to complete an Agored log book based on a subject of their own choosing, either an entirely new topic or a skill that you would like to improve and teach to others. This was highlighted as vital for maintaining motivation – as was the promise of a certificate and award for their personal portfolio at the end of the process! Subjects chosen by the learners included Manchester United football club, swimming coaching, horse riding, football skills, World War Two tanks, wolf breeds, music, baking and fossils. Sioned and Iolen identified a whole range of learner skills and attributes that are supported and strengthen by the Information Literacy work book approach – search strategy, reflection, source quality, questioning, visualising, quoting, paraphrasing, inferring, spelling, reading, referencing, formatting, editingand presentation skills are all required. Sioned has created a number of resources including flash cards, index quizzes and lists of discussion topics to support the curriculum. Students are supported to use a range of hardcopy and electronic resources, including BBC iPlayer. Iolen highlighted that peer support and peer learning were facilitated by the pilot, both within the group but also between Year 7 and Year 11 students working together in the library. This was a mutually beneficial development, as Welsh Baccalaureate students could use this support time towards their Element 5 ‘Working with Others’ course outcomes. The pilot group of students will soon re-take the initial reading test used to identify their needs – it is hoped that they will display an increase in literacy, fluency and confidence as a result of their project involvement. The results of the pilot project will be shared by WILP officers in Phase IV. If successful, this performance data will aid in the embedding of Information Literacy skills within the school curriculum and serve as an exemplar to other organisations. The School youth worker also supported the students learning journey by linking their Agored hours with the Children’s University passport to learning scheme. This enables badge certification for every 20 hours of learning banked and further encouraged the students to complete their log books. Again, the potential of the Hŵb for storing and sharing Information Literacy and Agored resources for schools was discussed. You can view or download Bethan and Iolen’s presentation slides.

image of induction flash card for search strategies

Ceri Powell, deputy Library Manager from Coleg Llandrillo, discussed how the Library and Learning Technology Service (LLTS) on Rhos Campus approaches Information Literacy training for learners. The LLTS provides Information Literacy training in four main areas – library orientation, Information Finding, Scholarship and Internet Searching skills. The library team have developed a number of creative, interactive and practical training tools to help learners become familiar with College systems and hone their Study Skills. Ceri described the learner –centred approach of the Advanced Induction sessions to introduce search strategies for using the library catalogue, Linc Y Gogledd scheme and the college ATHENS e-resources. This approach also facilitated increased peer to peer learning and participant feedback. Tailored subject specific sessions can also be provided using this method. Over a thousand FE and HE learners took part in these sessions in 2011-2012. E-book use increased by 128% and use of the library catalogue increased by a sizable 368% compared to the previous year. Feedback from learners indicated that they enjoyed the sessions and felt more confident in their research skills. The College Moodle VLE system hosts LLTS created pages called TARDIS – this is a central location for resources to help learners improve their Information Literacy skills, including searching for quality resources and referencing. Training is supported by a wide range of resources including printable guides, screen capture and video. Ceri also highlighted the JISC funded Peer EGuide PEDL project run by the LLTS team which encourages digital literacy skills development and creates advocates for the more formal support that staff can provide. An online skills audit was developed as part of the project, which LLTS staff will use to monitor the impact of Information Literacy training on learner skills and performance in the future. A menu of training available will be created, along with flexible drop-in opportunities and more targeted contact with low take up curriculum areas. You can view or download Ceri’s presentation slides.

image of contributor

Nicola Watkinson and Trish Maybury from Glyndŵr University introduced their methods of delivering Information Literacy ‘by stealth’ in the University library. The Issue desk service has been extended to now include a dedicated Enquiry desk facility within the library. Information Literacy interventions can then take place to differing levels in both service areas which compliments the more formal support available. This approach also provides a referral pathway to additional support and enables staff to gauge individual students needs. This in turn builds a positive relationship between staff and learners which often results in learners self referring to staff earlier, rather than struggle with research issues alone. Providing learner-centred help ‘in context’ had proven to be a very successful approach. Trish discussed another successful service facilitated by Glyndŵr library staff, which is the provision of ‘Pain Free’ Dissertation Workshops. These workshops were initially targeted at Undergraduate learners, but a significant number of Masters level learners also booked to attend the sessions. These two hour session included traditional topics such as study skills and using e-resources, but also included practical information on time management, graduate experience and other ‘survival’ tips!. Trish highlighted the mutually supportive links the library has forged with the University Study Skills department which has helped to inform the course content. Library staff plan to offer these workshops throughout the year due to learner demand. The recent additional of a Moodle VLE within the University also offers future potential for online evaluation, targeted information sessions for specific curriculum areas and the development of ‘transition’ session support for learners moving from local FE providers to the University. Nicola and Trish have also recently successfully lobbied the University to include ‘Having Information Management Skills’ added to the graduate attribute checklist. You can view or download Nicola and Trish’s presentation slides.

Plenary Session

Image of conference pack

P.1. Andrew Eynon chaired an informal plenary session at the end of the day. Several potential collaborative activities were suggested by both contributors and attendees. Denbighshire Public Library representatives highlighted the Chatter Books sessions run with Year 4 students from local schools. This was a voluntary arrangement and received no funding. However, the librarians were very interested in benefits of using the Agored Logbooks and how they might incorporate into the Chatter Books sessions. The need for teachers to receive more Information Literacy skills training was emphasised by Schools representatives. Andrew and Pat reported that additional contact with Teacher Training providers and support for Primary Schools was included in the next WILP project bid. Additional teacher training awareness-raising and skill development will be vital in light of recent Welsh Baccalaureate and ICT curriculum reviews. The need for a coherent Information Literacy strategy for early Years curriculum was stressed. Attendees also drew attention to the Information Literacy needs of parents and issues of lack of engagement. The potential of Public Libraries working with Schools leading to parent support provision was suggested and this will be explored by contributors after the conference.

P.2. The success of the Ynys Môn approach to Information Literacy training for end users was again highlighted and Bethan suggested that the supported progression pathway for learners was a significant factor in its continued success. This support is not always available with other Digital Literacy skills training programmes currently provided in Public Libraries. The lack of funding for such informal Information Literacy training was raised as a real barrier to success but partnerships with local FE colleges could bridge this gap. Phase IV of the WILP will also include support for delivering Information Literacy skills to Public Library users.

P.3. Attendees were enthusiastic about the creation of an All Wales joint HE and FE Information Literacy Community of Practice/Champions Network being facilitated by the project team. Initial topics for the group to discuss include the new Welsh Baccalaureate Information Literacy component and how FE learners transitioning to HE can be better supported. A suitable online platform will be investigated, with the new network also supported by face to face meetings. A timetable of face to face events will also be organised for the Schools and Public Library Champion Networks during the project Phase IV.

You can find the Agored Entry Level, Level 1 and Level 2 Work Books here 

Cyfluniant Organisation
Grŵp Llandrillo Menai  
PLLGC North Wales Library Partnership
Ysgol David Hughes  
Ysgol John Bright  
Ysgol Aberconwy  
Ysgol Uwchradd Caergybi  
Llyfrgell Dinbych Denbigh Public Library
Llyfrgell Caernarfon Public Library  
Llyfrgell Pwllheli Public Library  
Llyfrgell a Chanolfan Dysgu Treffynnon Holywell Library and Learning Centre
Llyfrgell Llangollen Public Library  
Llyfyrgelloed Gwynedd Library Service  
Llyfyrgelloed Ynys Mon Isle of Anglesey Library Service
JISC RSC Northwest  
JISC RSC Cymru JISC RSC Wales
Society of Chief Librarians (Wales)  
Sefydliad Siartredig Llyfrgellwyr a Gweithwyr Gwybodaeth Cymru CILIP
Y Bont, Swyddfa Llywodraeth Cymru Y Bont, Welsh Government Centre
CBAC WJEC
Coleg Gwyr Abertawe Gower College Swansea
Coleg Glannau Dyfrdwy Deeside College
Coleg Iâl Wrecsam Yale CollegeWrexham
Prifysgol Bangor University  
Prifysgol Glyndŵr University